Wanting to die is so easy. I have wanted to die almost every day of my adult life. (I guess getting into adulthood is a little more difficult for drama queens). So yes, I have tried to kill myself in many lazy ways, like smoking everything, drinking everything, eating everything, especially rubbish. Yeah, rubbish was my favourite, rubbish was everything, and I was always hungry only for that.
My decisions in life were even poorer. I wish there were poor decisions basically because there were no decisions at all. I think I believed that committing suicide was a kind of sport, so I wouldn’t do it! I was trying to die on the couch, like a lazy cat that didn’t want to live on the roof tiles anymore. Lying in the sun is so tiring, especially when you feel guilty about it. (Needless to say, I am lucky I was not a sporty person).
I was a living misery with a face of happiness. And I really want to ask: don’t people watch into people’s eyes anymore? Maybe they never did. Or we simply are or once were in the wrong tribe. At first, I thought I could handle it, really. I thought that was life and I was just… behaving young. I also used to tell myself, life is difficult, and that was the reason I needed to struggle at work.
I thought something else would happen, something unexpected that would give me a lift. A kind of Messiah, even though I had stopped believing in God some years ago. An opportunity, a person, a trip… until one day I had my first panic attack. And that was my gift. My little Messiah was a little weird, but I have always loved weird things! So, I understood that the opportunity can only be built, and I was the only person who could build it step by step. That was about taking responsibility and redemption at the same time. It was late at night. I was wrecked. I took a paper and a pencil and wrote down 5 things I loved about myself and three things I really needed to change. Then I wrote a letter of appreciation to me, whatever came in my mind about myself as a kid, what I loved, what I dreamed of, what I feared and encouraged me to have the will to live. I was afraid.
The magic list, this little saviour
The next day, I bought a notebook and made a list, every morning. My list at the beginning was funny. I had things like cooking, cleaning everyday and walking… for 10 minutes. Yes, yes 10 minutes. Now I know the best gift I did for myself was that I made the list easy for me so as to encourage myself and make me feel happy at the end of the day. That was what I did for my students, I never overwhelmed them and I always encouraged them, no matter how small the work was. I liked the result I used to see on my students, so I did it for myself too. I spoke to myself like I spoke to children and that was huge.
Encourage yourself as if you spoke to a child. That is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Have small goals and tick them everyday, until they become a habit. Tomorrow challenge yourself against the person you are today.
Soon I got used to cooking and walking 10 minutes everyday, and the next month I levelled up! I added 10 minutes in walking and I also started reading 5 pages of a book everyday. I was so happy when I bought my first book. I used to read a lot when I was a teenager, but till 18, school got really hard and boring for me, making my reading a real struggle. School made me hate reading, and I took a book in my hands 10 years later!
After 9 years of sitting on a couch and eating shit, my body was really in a bad condition. I didn’t aim to lose any weight, my aim was to get healthier, breathe easier basically and lead a healthy lifestyle, so as to be strong to walk on the mountains. The weight loss would come as a result of this. I was lucky enough not to live in a big city, so I was close to nature in no time. I reduced smoking too.
When I woke up every morning, my body was heavy as a broken truck. I had to go to work, so it was impossible for me to wake up earlier to go walking. I went at night and when I got back home, I used to pick my book and read my 5 pages. Sometimes it was really difficult for me, because my brain always loves the habit. But I understood that I needed to make a new habit, it was only 5 pages after all!
I started having a new self to compete and that was so rewarding
I started loving reading, taking notes of motivation words written by wonderful humans 50 or 100 years ago. I loved the way they used to think, and I loved that I found people that shared the same opinion as mine. That was when I built my self-esteem. I started believing in myself.
And then the best part begins. As weeks went by, I improved my breath and started feeling a little healthier. After walking at night, watching the stars and dreaming, I returned home full of positive thoughts. Then I challenged myself to start walking in the morning, before walk. I will not lie to you, that was really hard. I had my backs and forwards, but always tried to tick on my list every day or at least finish all the job at the end of the week. Walking brought magic into my life. As my breath felt lighter, I decided to start running for a second. (I know it sounds funny but I am proud of that!). I pushed myself to compete my previous self, I put limits and personal records I needed to break. And one day the magic happened. I had a personal goal to reach for that day. As I started running, a non-relative thought came to my mind, and I forgot the goal. 10 minutes later I realized that I was running without thinking about it! It was the first happy moment of all this thing. My body was healthier and stronger, my mind was healthier and happier. I built it and now I could enjoy it and challenge it for more.
The deeper satisfaction was the mental part of this challenge. Walking and running gave me more happiness, for sure. Running had immediate effects on my brain. I really felt motivated and willing to live for the rest of the day, made me work harder for my goals, made me feel successful and determined. Not only I wanted to live, now I really wanted to succeed! Watching insects and animals working from early every morning made me love being a part of this ecosystem, made me want to work for it too. I have watched dawns and sunsets, all so different from each other, every single day. I have listened to birds speaking with each other, I have smelled the soil and the rain. I have danced alone under the stars, I have played like a little kid under the trees. I have let my thoughts dance, run, hop, laugh…
I don’t know many things in life, but one I know for sure. My life changed because I moved. Exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your brain today and if you think you can’t, just think of how I started my journey. Wherever you are, start today, even with 6 minutes walk under the trees. I am not talking about gym, I am talking about nature.
Take care of the animal inside. We are animals, my friend, deep inside all we need is freedom.
Our bodies are made to move. Our bodies are made to work on the mountains, walk on hills and do stuff. We have built zoos for animals and our own kids. We have built zoos for ourselves, and that’s why panic attacks come to warn us. I find panic attacks as a gift, as a warning of our bodies that you are in the wrong path. I changed my whole life because of panic attacks. I moved, I got broke, broken, lost.. only to see that I was on the wrong path.
Wherever you are, start today. If you have started, keep on moving. Take care of the animal inside you, walk on Earth.